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BERKELEY HEIGHTS, N.J. -- With technology -- specifically social media and mobile communications -- become a bigger part of daily life, retailers still need to keep in mind that customer service is key advantage and part of that is getting back to basics.
"All of these changes actually underscore the importance of getting back to the basics of treating customers as individuals with unique needs. When a customer feels that his/her business is welcomed, appreciated and valued, the result will be repeat business," explained Richard Shapiro, founder and president of The Center for Client Retention.
He added that businesses need to look at customers a new way in 2012. Forward-thinking companies will be reengineering their thinking to reshape the customer service paradigm to take advantage of the significant modifications in technology, social media and ever-shifting demographics.
To that end Shapiro has released several customer service trends to watch and leverage in the new year. For example, he explained that as younger family members become equally or even more knowledgeable than their parents about what products are available in the marketplace companies need to engage the entire family on multiple platforms to ensure that children, as well as parents, feel welcomed and that their opinions are valued.
Also, being "green" is still a draw, he said. Companies that provide comprehensive environmental education to their front-line associates, to ensure that the company's ecology polices are incorporated into daily dialog with consumers of all ages, will be rewarded with increased sales and loyalty.
In addition, offering more language options will start to become a must, with significantly more companies offering toll free numbers, bi-lingual representatives, websites, instructions and directions in both Spanish and English.
Shapiro also noted that companies who elect to use mobile technology to interact with consumers will offer instant opt-out options and address privacy issues or customers will not allow them to continue to interrupt their daily activities.